At a time when states are still struggling to recover from the recession, investment in energy efficiency is providing a much needed boost. Investment in energy efficiency saves residents and businesses money on their energy bills, spurs investment in the local economy, and creates and maintains jobs.
Rhode Island is experiencing these benefits firsthand. A recent study by the New England Clean Energy Council (NECEC) Institute shows that National Grid’s 2012 Rhode Island energy efficiency programs led to the creation of 528 full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs with an annual economic impact of $27 million in the state.
The study, commissioned by National Grid, found that 6.37 direct FTEs were supported for every million dollars invested in energy efficiency. These jobs range across a wide array of businesses, including not-for-profits, contractors, plumbers, rebate processors, state agencies, engineering firms, marketing firms, and others. In addition, unlike other sectors, the jobs created from energy efficiency tend to be local because they are tied to the installation and maintenance of equipment in the state. The NECEC Institute found that of the 598 companies and agencies involved in the 2012 programs, 71% had headquarters or offices in Rhode Island. This is especially important to Rhode Island, which is experiencing the second highest unemployment rate in the country.
Not only did National Grid’s energy efficiency programs help spur jobs, they will save Rhode Island electricity customers $86 million and natural gas customers $28.2 million in energy costs over the life of the various projects and installed measures. Lower energy bills can lead to even more job creation with residents having more disposable income to spend in the local economy and businesses having more money to go towards maintaining or expanding payroll.
With Rhode Island’s energy efficiency goals expected to moderately increase over the next four years, we can expect to see these economic benefits grow in years to come creating a win-win for customers in the Ocean State.